Just as communities’ needs may be obvious on the surface or they may face more subtle, underlying problems, they also often have untapped assets that can be used to solve problems. We research both as a first step to effectively and sustainably solve root problems and create the reality the community wants and needs.
Over the past year, we worked with The Resurrection Project (TRP) to equip 20 parents in Back of the Yards with focus group and surveying skills. They used these tools to engage 1,500 people over 6 months. From the process emerged a consensus – and the evidence to back it up – that the community needs more youth and family programs. Now those parents and TRP are leading a drive to create a community center where kids can be safe. If interested in the findings, you can download the report.
Currently, we are working with The Center for Faith and Community Health Transformation, as well as others, on a collaborative project called Courage to Love to understand why the infant mortality rate is so high in Auburn Gresham. Many scientists now believe that the chronic stress of discrimination has an impact on women’s bodies and that social support is a critical mediator of that stress. We are interviewing parents in the community to learn their stressors and perceptions of community strengths and solutions to build on the love (or social cohesion) already present.